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September 13, 2012

Restoration of a Vintage 1950s/1960s Perforated Wall Sconce

By Sara In AZ

Ok, so y’all have probably figured out that I am some kind of crazy project nut by now! I see a vintage ‘pretty’ all messed up……I want to make it all better again. I think I need help! hee!

I came across this old wall sconce at a flea market earlier this summer. It only caught my eye initially because of the shade, so I crossed over to pick it up and examine it.

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I thought the metal backer, that the sconce was mounted to, was really interesting .

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However, it was not until I turned the sconce over that I realized the metal backer was supposed to be perforated and that all the visible perforations on the front had been filled in/globbed in with white paint. ugh.

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It’s SO sad isn’t it?!? Just slathered all over with white paint like that……..

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I just could not take it anymore and bought the light for $5. I had to try to bring this light back to some semblance of it’s former glory!

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I had some water based stripper left over from when I refinished Mom’s blonde condo doors and I hoped and prayed that this would do the trick to strip that old cruddy paint right off!

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I got a disposable foil tray and poured the stripper all over the metal backer. I let it sit for a good 5 to 10 minutes……..

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then started scrubbing away. You can see here it was originally a copper color.

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Here we see the backer with most of the paint scrubbed off. Let’s just say that it was very tedious to get all of those perforations cleaned out!

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Here is the light stripped of all that crazy white paint! Sadly the paint stripping process also stripped off the brown/copper color the metal backer originally had.

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I thought I’d try to paint the metal backer  a close match to what I thought the original color was….so I went with a coppery/brown Rustoleum spray paint.

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Here is a view from the top down of the wall sconce (before Mike reattached the bulb socket). I think it’s so cool how the sconce flares out just slightly.

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And here is the wall sconce all done and looking pretty once again! Yay! for NO globby white paint!

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I seriously wish I knew who made this sconce , the only label on the back was the UL label. If anyone out there has any thoughts as to who the manufacturer of this light is please let me know!

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12 Responses to Restoration of a Vintage 1950s/1960s Perforated Wall Sconce

  1. Sherree Reply

    September 13, 2012 at 8:37 am

    I love it! And such a deal.
    Seems like everything made back then was metal and is now painted or rusty :-( I spray paint everything! Lamps, shelves, furniture. I should own stock in Rustoleum.
    What will you do with it?

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      September 13, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      Thanks Sherree! I know, I feel like I should own stock in Rustoleum too! :) I’m not sure what I will do with it yet….I suppose keep it for right now. I was trying to hold onto all our vintage lights I’ve been finding along the way until I find our dream retro house, then use what we can and sell the rest!

  2. RetroRuth Reply

    September 13, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Nice job! Too bad about losing the original finish, but I think the sprayed one looks just as nice, and about 100 times nicer than the globbed up white version! :)

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      September 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm

      Thanks Ruth! I was figuring that there would be no way to save that original finish with all the stripping, esp. since it was usually just a top coat. But yeah, it looks SO much better now!!!!!

  3. Silvercat Reply

    September 13, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    So cute! I don’t understand some people’s obsession with making everything white.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      September 13, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      Thanks Silvercat! I know…..what is the deal with everything white?!? ugh…………

  4. Andrea Reply

    September 14, 2012 at 2:04 am

    Wow, wow, wow Sara! That turned out great! How is the water based stripper, fumes-wise? I usually buy an organic stripper because I am asthmatic and can’t take the fumes, but it usually takes a lot of work to get the paint off. I’d like something more effective!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      September 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      Thanks Andrea! I’d say I really did not notice any fumes at all. I know some of that stuff can just be horrible though. I must say that it did take more scrubbing (and waiting time) than the hardcore strippers I have used in the past….but this might work a bit better than your organic stripper. You might just want to give it a try!

  5. Onyx Reply

    September 14, 2012 at 9:33 am

    That turned out great! Nice job :)

  6. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    September 14, 2012 at 9:36 am

    When I saw the word “restoration”, I thought, “this has just GOT to be Sara!” : ) That is such a cool sconce and you did a super job of restoring it! I don’t envy you having to get the paint out of all of those little holes on that backplate. I wish that I could rent you for a week. I bet you could finish our kitchen for us.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      September 14, 2012 at 12:13 pm

      Ha! You know me TOO well then don’t you! I just could not pass that sconce up when I saw it, it looked like it needed someone to rescue it…..poor thing! ;)

      Girl, you know that if we lived closer we’d have that kitchen whipped into shape for you in no time!

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